Nondalo says Sawubona in the morning, by Philisiwe Twijnstra

Nondalo : It is morning, the sun is like a friend of mine, it is like me it likes playing hide and seek behind those tall buildings and the taller the building the sun goes higher. The sun is as clear as an aeroplane flying about.  Have you been in a plane? But My mom says, I have flew when I was younger than this. I don’t remember. That sometimes makes me sad, but good thing  mom has a picture of me. There’s a picture of me wearing a red overall like what those guys are wearing.  But theirs are for big.

Mom: Ngeke bawe.

Nondalo: I ask my mom why they cutting trees?

Mom: Imvula iseduzane.

Nondalo: That is what she said. But cutting trees is not good, my teacher once said.  Everything is clear here in the morning especially on Saturday my mom and I walk,  while I stop and smell the bananas, next to the tomatoes next to the oranges hmmmm…. I love the sweetness of oranges. The juice from the oranges, Oranges in my town  fall from the trees and they are as fresh and big as me.

Mom: Woza Nondalo.

Nondalo: My mom holds my hand like this, because they are big trucks sometimes they turn out to be long.  I always think that the street at my home is too small to allow cars  that big to pass so fast. And then tjo! Awe we! the small cars are small small cars, like this.—(Laugh)  It’s funny isn’t ? When I see people passing us, they just pass, they don’t say Sanibonani like me.

Mom: Bingelela Nondalo.

Nondalo: My mom said I must say sawubona if there is one person and if there are more than ( Counting her fingers) more than two, I must say Sanibonani… I shout Sanibonani!!! No one answers.  I try again Sanibonani! Ninjani? But they not answering. Then I think oh maybe… maybe! I am not loud enough, I remember that I have to take a deep breath in my lungs and open mouth and I decide to do just that and I shout again… Sanibonani! Goei Dag! They don’t answer me. (Pause) I did this every weekend sometimes. I wear my favourite skirt and t-shirt

(She sits down and her mom does her hair in two pig tails)

Mom: Umuhle Nondalo. Sthandwa sikamama. Umuhle Ndalondalo.

Nondalo: Mom, they not even looking at me? Or saying Sawubona why? Why Mama?

Mom: Uhlukile Ntombazane ka mama.

Nondalo: I was born outside of the tree, not inside like everyone. I was born in a leaf, where the sun, stayed longer on my skin and my hair was a bucket for  rain. And now my hair is long and curly and black. This is why I asked the sun to come out and do what it did to me to everyone passing by.  Now everyone says Sawubona, Nondalo! Unjani Nondalo? Uyaphila Nondalo ?(Laugh)

The End.


Philisiwe Twijnstra is an award winning South African actor, Musician, Theatre Director and Playwright and a Co-founder of Durban Women Playwrights. She resides in Durban.

Recently she was granted a CASA award residency (2018) to write her new play ‘Not Enough Buses in Spring’. She was also selected as one of the female directors for a Womens’ Theatre Festival in Johannesburg (2016) to stage her first award winning play by a Dutch writer, Theo Fransz Matty & Sis, which was also selected for Uhuru International arts Festival in Durban and Musho Theatre Festival. She was part of the novel script project (2015) after which she wrote “Salty Pillows”which the script took 2nd place at Pansa Playwright Festival (2017). Ms Twijnstra is shortlisted for Short Sharp Stories (2017) for her short Story ‘Little black Sandals’.

Currently she is writing her new play ’Usaartjie and Itshali and writing her first novel ‘Just a girl’ under the mentorship of Kobus Moolman. As a Vocalist under the pseudonym name ZuluBlue, she did a Miriam Makeba tribute concert with a well-respected international guitarist Madala Kunene and the late Patti Nokwe.